Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Whirlwind in North Israel

The tour of the Holy Land continued today with a whirlwind tour of major sites in the northern part of Israel. First we drove to the coast to see Caesarea with its restored theatre. Also saw the remains of Herod's palace - he sure demanded the lush lifestyle. His palace sat on a man-made peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean, and still he included a fresh water swimming pool in the middle of it. His palace was where Paul was brought from Jerusalem. The picture is of the amphitheatre and in the distance the remains of the Crusader fort.
Then we stopped at Herod's aqueduct so that those who wanted to could put their feet in the Mediterranean Sea. The weather was great there.
On to Tel Meggido, the ancient ruins of 25 cities going baack as far as 3500 BC. Meggido sits at a strategic point overlooking the Jezreel Valley and is the place John was referring to when he wrote of the final battle of Armageddon (KJ Version). In the picture you can see the ruins from the Cannanite period, with the circular altar in the center, and beyond it the Jezreel valley. Meggido has the ruins of Solomon's palace and stables (for his chariot army), and the water tunnel built by King Ahab.
Next it was Nazareth and the Basilica of the Annunciation. Beautiful place.
Got into Cana where five couples renewed their marriage vows in the church that commemorates Jesus's first "sign" miracle of turning the water into wine.

Finally we made Tiberius on the coast at Galilee. Just before dusk we rode up to Mt. Arbel overlooking the Valley of the Doves. There we got an overview of the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, often called the Gospel Triangle (not because things disappear there but because in the triangle so much of the gospels occur.)

One more day of touring and then we begin the long journey home. That will be nice.

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